New addition to the list of Christmas cookies as of 2012, now a staple. Why? We love cookies with a surprise in them! We love cookies made with booze! We love cookies that look like they fell into snow! This achieves all three goals.
1 1/2 cups raw almonds with skins
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3 sticks butter
3 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tsp high quality vanilla extract (I like Madagascar vanilla)
1 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup dried cranberries
3 tbsp Amaretto liqueur
Preheat oven 350 degrees. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Cook the almonds in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes (slightly darkened). Let cool completely, then pulse in a food processor pulsing until finely ground. Add the flour and pulse to combine.
Tip: When I used the Cuisinart mini-prep, I had to pulse the nuts and flour in 2 batches.
Beat the butter on medium-high speed for 3 – 5 mins. Add 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar, the extracts, salt and then beat until combined. Reduce speed to low and add the flour mixture mixing until just incorporated. Cover and refrigerate until slightly firm, 30 minutes.
While the dough is “chilling out” in the fridge, combine the dried cranberries, Amaretto and 1 tbsp water in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave 30 seconds, then leave to plump-up for 20 minutes.
Make cookies by scooping 1 tbsp dough and forming it in a ball around one or two cranberries (don’t let too much of the juice in there or it will make the cookies crumble later. Bake on parchment covered cookie sheets, leaving some room between each cookie. My 8 year old made the tray pictured above, all hands on deck at my house!
Bake until the bottom is lightly brown, for 15-20 minutes.
Tip: If you are not sure they are done, take one cookie off with a spatula and check the bottom.
Cool the cookies for 5 minutes then roll in confectioners’ sugar. Cool completely and roll in confectioners’ sugar again. The double rolling will make sure the cookies resemble snow balls.
Secret: When I am making different kinds of cookies on the same day and need to cut corners, I will just roll them once after they are cooled down. As always, save on the aggravation of stuck on cookies and messy clean-up by using parchment paper. It is not necessary, but is a practical way to go!